[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Patton 6-10-1992 by Ord. No. 92-289. Amendments noted where applicable.]
It is the intent and purpose of this chapter to adopt emergency alarm provisions which will prescribe effective standards, requirements and controls to reduce the frequency of false alarms within the municipality.
The following definitions shall apply in the interpretation and enforcement of this chapter:
- A communication to a public safety agency indicating that a crime, fire or other emergency situation warranting immediate action by a public safety agency has occurred or is occurring.
- ALARM SUPPLIER
- The business by any individual, partnership, corporation or other entity of selling, leasing, maintaining, servicing, repairing, altering, replacing, moving or installing any alarm system or causing any alarm system to be sold, leased, maintained, serviced, repaired, altered, replaced, moved or installed in or on any building, structure or facility.
- ANSWERING SERVICE
- A service whereby trained employees, in attendance at all times, receive prerecorded voice messages from automatic dialing devices reporting an emergency at a stated location, where such employees have the duty to relay immediately by live voice any such emergency message over a trunk line to the communications center of a police or fire agency.
- AUDIBLE ALARM
- Any device, bell, horn, or siren which is attached to the interior or exterior of a building, structure, or facility and emits a warning signal audible outside the building, structure or facility and is designed to attract attention when activated by a criminal act or other emergency requiring police or fire agency response.
- AUTOMATIC DIALING DEVICE
- A device which is interconnected to a telephone line and is programmed to transmit a signal by a voice or coded message that indicates that an emergency condition exists and the need for an emergency response is required.
- CENTRAL STATION
- A protective system or group of such systems operated privately for customers by a person, firm or corporation which accepts recorded messages from automatic dialing devices at a central station having operators and/or guards in attendance at all times who have the duty to take appropriate action upon receipt of a signal or message, including the relaying of messages to the communications center of the police or fire agency.
- CHIEF OF POLICE
- The Chief of the Patton Township Police Department.
- The Centre Region Council of Governments.
- The Director of the Centre Region Code Administration Agency.
- A police, fire, hazard or medical emergency.
- A. An alarm activated in the absence of an emergency, whether willfully or by inadvertence, negligence or unintentional act, including the malfunction of the alarm system, the intentional activation of a holdup alarm for other than a holdup in progress, the intentional activation of a burglary alarm for other than a burglary, the intentional activation of a medical alarm for other than a medical emergency or the intentional activation of a fire alarm for other than a fire or hazard to which a police or fire agency responds.
- B. Exceptions: an alarm caused by the testing or repairing of telephone or electrical lines or equipment outside the premises; acts of God, such as earthquakes, floods, windstorms, thunder or lightning; an attempted illegal entry of which there is visible evidence; a crime in progress; or, in the case of an emergency medical alarm, an actual medical emergency requiring police, fire and/or medical personnel.
- FIRE AGENCY
- The Alpha Fire Company.
- FIRE CHIEF
- The Chief of the Fire Agency or an authorized designee.
- FIRE EMERGENCY
- A fire, smoke or overheating.
- HAZARD EMERGENCY
- An explosion; leak of toxic gas, liquid or solid; or a potential explosion or leak.
- A central station protective system or an answering service as herein defined.
- To use a telephone line and equipment for transmitting a message either directly or indirectly by an automatic dialing device.
- MEDICAL EMERGENCY
- An emergency involving the health of a person.
- The Township of Patton.
- Written authorization granted to an applicant by the Director upon payment of the required fee.
- An individual, corporation, partnership, incorporated association or similar entity.
- POLICE AGENCY
- The Centre Region Police Departments.
- POLICE EMERGENCY
- An incident requiring prompt response by a police agency.
- POLICE AND FIRE COMMUNICATIONS CENTER
- The police and fire communications rooms and other rooms which house communications equipment.
- PROFESSIONAL ALARM LICENSE
- A legal document authorizing a person the right to sell, install and service an alarm system within the municipality.
- PUBLIC SAFETY AGENCY
- The Centre Region Police Departments and Fire Companies.
A permit and/or license shall be governed by the following requirements on and after the effective date of this chapter:
An alarm system permit shall be required for each structure having an alarm system or multiple alarm systems. The provisions of § 48-6, entitled "Alarm system permit; fee," shall apply.
A building permit shall be required for the installation of an alarm system unless the system is battery-powered.
An annual professional alarm license shall be required for persons selling, installing or servicing alarm systems within the municipality. The provisions of § 48-5, entitled "Professional alarm license," shall apply.
The alarm system permit and professional alarm license fees shall be established by resolution of the municipality. The building permit fee shall be established through the adoption of the BOCA National Building Code or the CABO One- and Two-Family Dwelling Code by the municipality.
The owner or occupant of the structure is exempt from an alarm system permit and professional alarm license when installing an alarm system, provided that the purpose of the audible alarm is to notify the occupants of the structure of an emergency situation, the audible alarm does not sound outside the structure (no external speakers), the internal signal emitted by the audible alarm does not exceed 90 decibels at the property line and the alarm signal device when activated notifies only the owner or occupant when they are not on the premises.
The municipality and COG shall be issued an alarm system permit where applicable and shall be exempt from any alarm system permit fees.
Exterior alarms. On and after the effective date of this chapter, owners or users of exterior audible alarms must equip such exterior audible alarms with a timing mechanism that will disengage the exterior audible alarm after a maximum of 15 minutes except for water flow alarms. Exterior audible alarms without such a timing mechanism shall be unlawful in the municipality and must be disconnected by the owner or user within 60 days from the effective date of this chapter.
Automatic dialing devices. On and after the effective date of this chapter, no automatic dialing devices may be keyed to the police and fire communications center.
On and after the effective date of this chapter, no one except an alarm supplier holding a valid professional alarm license (hereinafter referred to as "license") from the municipality or its designee shall sell, install or service any alarm system within the municipality.
The Director shall issue a license to an alarm supplier meeting the requirement of this section upon the filing of the required application and payment of a fee as established by resolution. Each license shall be an annual license and bear the signature of the Director. A copy of the license shall be physically displayed upon each of the premises using the alarm system and shall be available for inspection by the Director or by an authorized code inspector. A license is not required where no alarm system permit is required.
The alarm supplier applying for a license shall furnish the Director an insurance certificate on an annual basis confirming that the alarm supplier has in force general liability insurance coverage in an amount of not less than $300,000 for each occurrence. The alarm supplier who self-insures such coverage shall furnish evidence of financial ability.
No corporation, sole proprietor, partner, joint venturer, trustee, executor, administrator, employee, fiduciary or stockholder with a 5% or greater interest in a corporation (except a corporation whose stock is publicly traded and registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission or with a state securities commission) applying for a license shall have been convicted of a felony or pleaded nolo contendere to a felony charge or indictment.
Alarm suppliers shall demonstrate a working knowledge of burglar, fire or supervisory alarm systems that they sell and shall be authorized by the manufacturer of the alarm equipment to sell, install and maintain the same.
A license shall be revoked or renewal denied when:
The alarm supplier fails to meet the requirements necessary to obtain a license.
The license fee is not paid.
The Director, Chief of Police, Fire Chief or their designee has reason to believe the alarm supplier's installations are the cause of false alarms.
The alarm supplier fails to provide emergency service as required by this chapter.
Every alarm supplier that installs one or more alarm system in the municipality shall make service available directly or through an agent on a twenty-four-hour-per-day basis, seven days a week, to repair in a timely manner such devices and to correct malfunctions as they occur. Any person using an alarm system shall make arrangements for service to be available for such device on a twenty-four-hour-per-day, seven-days-per-week basis.
Every alarm supplier who, after the effective date of this chapter, sells or leases in the municipality an alarm system shall furnish operating instructions and manual to the buyer or lessee.
The fee for an alarm system permit shall be established by resolution of the municipality and said permit shall be obtained by or on behalf of the owner of the premises upon which the alarm system is installed from the Centre Region Code Administration Agency prior to the installation of the alarm.
The alarm system permit shall bear the signature of the Director and be valid for the period that the owner owns the premises upon which the alarm system is installed, or until revoked by the Director. The permit shall be physically present upon the premises using the alarm system and shall be available for inspection by the Director or by an authorized code inspector.
The alarm system permit shall contain the address of the property, the name of the business (if applicable), the name of the owner, tenant or agent responsible for the property, the alarm supplier or other entity responsible for maintaining the system (if applicable), the type of alarm (fire, burglary, holdup or medical), at least two alternate emergency numbers of persons to be contacted to secure the property and any additional information as may be determined to be necessary. It shall be the owner's responsibility to amend the foregoing information whenever the information changes during the life of the permit.
Persons who fail to obtain an alarm system permit within 60 days after an alarm system is activated or within 60 days after the effective date of this chapter shall be liable to pay a late charge penalty as designated by resolution of the municipality for each calendar month or part thereof that the permit is not obtained.
Every alarm supplier selling, leasing or furnishing to any user or a user who privately installs an alarm system which is located on premises within the municipality shall:
Be permitted to install only equipment that is listed by Underwriters' Laboratories, Inc., as being electrically safe and meeting the municipality's requirements for the alarm system. Wiring for the alarm system must conform with all applicable municipal codes.
Be required to cause each alarm system installed to be provided with standby battery power which shall automatically and immediately take over in the event of a power failure without initiating an alarm except for a trouble signal.
Be required to install equipment in such a way as to neutralize electrical surges on the alarm system.
Be required to deactivate any alarm system within a reasonable period of time when multiple false alarms are received.
The sensory mechanism used in connection with an alarm device must be adjusted to suppress false indications of fire or intrusion so that the alarm device will not be activated by impulses due to transient pressure change in water pipes, short flashes of light, wind noises (such as the rattling or vibrating of doors or windows), vehicular noise adjacent to the premises or other forces unrelated to genuine alarm situations.
Application for a permit for the installation of an alarm system and subsequent installation of such a system, pursuant to a permit issued or the continuance of the use of any alarm system already installed, at the effective date of this chapter shall constitute consent by the owner or lessee thereof and authorization for the inspection of any such installation and/or operation by the Director or his representative.
All such entries upon the premises where an alarm system is installed and all such inspections of the installation and operation of alarm systems shall be at reasonable times and upon reasonable notice, except in emergency situations.
The permittee shall be notified, in writing, by the Public Safety Agency for each and every false alarm activated in the absence of an emergency, whether willfully or by inadvertence, negligence or unintentional act, including the malfunction of the alarm system to which the police or fire agency responds. Each twenty-four-hour period during which an alarm occurs shall constitute a separate offense and each offense shall accumulate over a twelve-month period, as follows:
When the fourth and subsequent alarm occurs, the Public Safety Agency shall, within 20 days from the date of the false alarm, notify the permittee that a false alarm charge is due and payable and the amount thereof. Such notice shall be forwarded by certified mail to the permittee at their last known address. Failure of the Public Safety Agency to mail notice of assessment of the false alarm change within 20 days from the occurrence of a false alarm shall preclude the municipality from assessing a false alarm charge for said false alarm.
A false alarm charge shall be due and payable at the office of the municipality 25 days from the date of the mailing of the notice of assessment of the charge. The municipality and COG shall be exempt from payment of all fees.
Failure of the permittee to pay a false alarm charge on or before the due date shall constitute a violation of this chapter and shall subject said person to the penalties set forth in § 48-9 hereof.
If doubt exists as to the cause of the false alarm, the Chief of Police or Fire Chief or their designee shall make a decision regarding the circumstances of the activation.
Multiple alarms received by the police or fire agency before the system can be deactivated within a reasonable period of time shall be considered a single alarm.
Should any person fail to pay the false alarm charges as required under § 48-8 of this chapter, such failure shall constitute a violation of this chapter, and such unpaid charges may be collected as fines by suit or civil proceeding brought in the name of the municipality before any District Justice of this commonwealth having jurisdiction. Such proceedings for such violations and for the collection of such fees imposed herein and unpaid may be commenced by warrant or by summons, at the discretion of the District Justice before whom such proceedings are begun. Each twenty-four-hour period during which failure to comply continues shall constitute a separate violation of the terms of this chapter.
Any person who is convicted of a violation shall be subject to prosecution in a civil proceeding brought before a District Justice having jurisdiction and, upon conviction, shall be liable for a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $600, and court costs, including reasonable attorney fees. If the defendant neither pays nor timely appeals the judgment, the municipality may enforce the judgment pursuant to the applicable rules of civil procedure.
[Amended 8-14-1996 by Ord. No. 96-330]
The municipality and COG shall be exempt from all penalties under this chapter.
The issuance of any permit under this chapter shall not constitute acceptance by the municipality or COG of any liability to maintain any equipment, to answer alarms nor otherwise render the municipality or COG liable to any person for any loss or damage relating to the alarm system or procedure.
In the event that the owner of such premises is a person other than the permit applicant, as in the instance of a lessee or other user not the owner of the premises on which the alarm is installed, such permit application shall constitute an indemnification agreement by the applicant to hold harmless any such police officer or firefighter, the Police Department or the Fire Department, the municipality or COG, as appropriate, from any and all damages whatsoever claimed by the lessor or owner of the premises on which the alarm is installed.
Administration and enforcement of this chapter shall be a function of the Code Administration Agency and Police Services of the municipality and shall include the following:
Authority to accept or reject a permit application or revoke a permit because of a misrepresentation or false statement contained in any application for a permit, failure to correct any deficiencies in equipment or operation of an alarm device connected to the central receiving station after due notice or not meeting other conditions and specifications of this chapter.
Authority to order the disconnection of an alarm device to the central receiving station for a violation of this chapter or failure to pay any of the appropriate fees.
Any applicant or permit holder shall have a right of appeal under this chapter. An appeal may be taken to the municipality on a decision regarding installation, operation or maintenance of an alarm device for which a permit has been requested and is denied or upon which a permit has been issued and a revocation of said permit has occurred. Such an appeal, when filed, shall be in writing and filed within 10 days following such decision. The appeal shall be filed with the governing body of the municipality making the decision. The governing body shall promptly conduct a hearing to affirm, modify or reverse the decision appealed from. The decision of the governing body shall be final.